Rethinking the Open
Elke Vanempten
8 December 2015, 14:00
KU Leuven Brussels Campus, Room A20

Many discussions within urbanism and spatial development revolve around urban structures and their challenges. Within these discussions, open space and landscape are frequently seen as passive opposites of the urban in need of protection. This lecture wants to challenge that view by looking at open spaces and landscape as possible structuring entities for urbanisation, showing how open space is not a static or passive but rather dynamic given affected by a number of challenges such as horsification, garden sprawl, and various fundamental changes in agriculture. Furthermore, the 'pilot projects for a productive landscape', an initiative that explores how to activate open space through rural uses, will be discussed. This program was initiated by the Flemish Government Architect, the Institute for Agriculture and Fishery Research (ILVO), the Ministry and Department of Agriculture, and the Planning Department of the Flemish Government, to support innovative rural progress that has a clear spatial impact and high societal value.

Elke Vanempten is a senior researcher of the Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO), where she coordinates a trajectory of "Pilot Projects on Productive Landscape" in close collaboration with the team of the Flemish Government Architect. Her PhD (KU Leuven & VUB 2014) dealt with the roles of spatial design in the integrated development of open spaces in rural-urban fringes. Currently, she conducts research on productive landscapes, open space development, rural-urban relations, and spatial design. She teaches in the MSc in Urban Design and Spatial Planning (SteR*) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. She is also a board member of PlanDag vzw, of the Flemish Planning Association (Vlaamse Vereniging voor Ruimte & Planning VRP), and advises for the Brussels nature council.

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